ACCELERATING AFRICA’S INDUSTRIALIZATION THROUGH AGRICULTURE
Innovation is the key to competitive advantages when it comes to Business in Agriculture.
My uncle after completing his primary education in the village, he moved to the city where he completed his secondary education. After completing his basic education, he moved to Newcastle university to pursue BSc. Agriculture. This was not sufficient, in early 90’s, he started his masters course in one of the universities in the united states. Fate was already written in the stars for this man, after then went for a training program on Agribusiness and that was just the beginning. From then to now, becoming Marketing Director of his company. Coming from a farmers’ background, his fathers and grandparents were farmers and practiced agriculture at their land. He might not have dreamt of being at this position when he started off his career, but everyday he did something different, something significant and something important which brought him the entitlements and the positions at which he stands today.
In the past, agriculture was seen as the domain of the humanitarian development sector, as a way to manage poverty. It was not seen as a business sector for wealth creation. Yet Africa has huge potential in agriculture– and with it huge investment potential.
Agriculture is a business and the more we treat it as a business, as a way to create wealth, the more it will promote development and improve people’s lives to boot and unless agriculture is fully transformed, Africa will remain trapped in a low productivity cycle.
Agriculture has evolved in to agribusiness and has become a vast and complex system that reaches far beyond the farm to include all those who are involved in bringing food and fiber to consumers.
African countries need to industrialize to increase incomes, create employment, raise value-added activity and diversify their economies. Industry has traditionally been a central source of generating employment—in developed and developing countries.
Successful transition towards a green economy requires huge financial investments by public and private investors, with a focus on renewable energies and resource-efficient technologies, water and waste management systems, conservation of resources in environmentally friendly agriculture and forestry, and prevention of climate-related disasters.
Several key opportunities are within reach in agribusiness. The underlying premise of diversification of sources of growth should curb the pattern of overreliance on primary commodities to generate export revenues.
One of the opportunities and avenues to industrialize africa’s agriculture into business is the use of drone services which have found use and applications in film or video making, photography, product delivery etc. They can also be deployed in agriculture for activities like spraying pesticides on crops, monitoring farmlands from the air so that patterns like irrigation problems, soil variation and pest and fungal infestations that aren’t apparent at eye level can be revealed.
Also, digital Information Center for Farmers in which farmers need information all the time, they want to know where to get the best seeds, where to buy the best feed ingredients and so much more. Farmers would love to have their own dedicated information center where all their farming and agribusiness queries can be answered.
No region of the world has ever moved to industrialised economy status without a transformation of the agricultural sector and using agriculture to power industrialization calls for a strong public-private sector partnership that increases small farm holders’ productivity and enhances their contribution to national and regional value chains.
Investments in green infrastructure, particularly energy, will be vital for successful green industrialization, so policy-makers must engage the private sector as partners to fill the infrastructure financing gap.
In a fast-changing world, African countries risk falling further behind in the competitiveness stakes as a result of weak institutions, infrastructure deficits and limited skills and technological achievements. Successful government action involves systematic coordination between the private and public sectors while avoiding risks of “capture” by interest groups.
Africa can feed Africa, it is well endowed and has the markets. But it needs more than good technology policies. Scaling up productivity means tapping water resources for irrigation, providing stable prices while doing away with artificial subsidies, using seeds with better yields, providing basic transport infrastructure, providing incentives for financial institutions to invest in agriculture as much as in commercial farming, and developing a profitable and competitive agribusiness sector.
In conclusion agro-industry could be the next natural stage in the quest for structural acceleration of Industries in Africa.